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Mind Games (PDAmill Gamebox Sudoku)

posted in Reviews on July 26th, 2007

Unless you have spent the last two years living under a rock, you have probably heard about a puzzle game called Sudoku. These innocent looking puzzles have invaded newspapers and magazines, people have drawn up their own versions and there have even been whole sets of books dedicated to Sudoku. So, one might wonder, what is there left to discuss? That’s right, a Pocket PC Version!

A couple of weeks ago, PDAmill released their own Sudoku clone as part of their ever growing Gamebox Collection and if you are looking to train your brain a little during the summer (or any other season), this game might be for you.

Numb3rs

Sudoku is a game about relationship and, at first, seemingly endless possibilities. The truth, however, is that Sudoku is quite simple, there are only two rules (as far as I know) and once you understand these two rules, solving the game is not that hard anymore. PDAmill’s Sudoku makes use of the numbered version of Sudoku, which most people find easier to solve than, for example, shape- or color-based Sudokus.

Think tank

The interface for Gamebox Sudoku is quite spartan: you can either start a new game, continue or restart an old one, read up on the rules or quit the game. The minimalistic approach in this case however is very well chosen. The user does not need any more items than those that are presented in the menu.

Starting a new game is fairly straight forward: your first choice is the size of your puzzle, after that, you select the difficulty of your game and you can start solving your puzzle.

Once you are in the game, you get a richer interface, with a myriad of options. Two thirds of your screen are used by the Sudoku puzzle itself while one third is used for the sidebar. The set of tools that are available are streamlined to make your game experience as pleasant as possible.

Gamebox: Sudoku

 

The thing that I like most about the sidebar is the erase tool, with it, you can hide those numbers that can not be placed on a certain field, based on the rules of the game and your own calculations. While this feature might not be needed by professional players, I found it very useful in solving the bigger and more difficult puzzles.

Gamebox: Sudoku

 

As soon as you have hidden all the impossible numbers for a given spot, you can switch the erase tool to the pencil tool and start filling in your puzzle.

In case you are stuck, the game offers you both a undo / redo function as well as a hint tool that will cancel out any numbers that are wrong as defined by the rules of the game. Especially with the biggest puzzle form, this can be very useful and certainly more fun than simply restarting a session.

A good combo

In the past two years, I did a fairly good job in avoiding Sudoku. I played it once but could not find a solution back then and gave up, because the game did not appeal to me. When I came across this title, I had the weird idea of trying it again, because sometimes, I enjoy Pocket PC versions of a game a lot more than their real life counterparts. Long story short, I ended up loving the game. I think I have solved about 30 to 40 Sudokus by now and thanks to this game, I will probably keep doing so.

This game does it the right way: there is the soothing background music, the relaxing color scheme and additions to a brilliant game that make it a lot more fun, especially for those that never played the game or do not like this kind of games.

For $14.95, you get hours and hours of (single player) fun and unlimited Sudokus to boot. No need to carry around a huge book full of puzzles you can only use once. While I do not think that this game is overpriced, I would still suggest any buyers to sign up for My.PDAmill; that way, you get at least 10% off of the price and (depending on the amount of games you bought from PDAmill) that percentage can grow up to 50%.

As with all PDAmill games, a trial version is available, so I suggest you check out the game for yourself.

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